Dr. Phil MohlerMOHLER'S MEDICATION MAXIMSGrand Junction Free Press Health & Wellness Columnist

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January 23, 2013
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DR. MOHLER: Transplanting feces - an appalling notion, but it works!

In a new study published earlier this month in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, Dutch researchers transplanted feces from healthy persons into the guts of patients with severe intestinal infections. A revolting thought you say, but please read on.The patients in the study were all suffering from an increasingly common infection called Clostridium difficile. Antibiotics given for other infections sometimes destroy the "good" bacteria in our gut and allow dangerous bacteria like C. difficile to multiply. C. difficile infections are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics and last year killed more than 14,000 Americans.In the study, the fecal transplants cured 15 of 16 patients while antibiotics cured only 7 of 26 patients. The fecal therapy is thought to work by restoring the normal balance of bacteria in the gut.The treatment involves screening the fecal donors for infections, diluting the stool to chocolate milk-like consistency and introducing the feces into the patient either via a tube through the nose into the intestine or using enemas.Although fecal transplants have been done sporadically for more than 50 years, this is the first scientifically controlled study and may move fecal transplants into the mainstream of care. Commenting on fecal transplants, Dr. James Versalovic from the Baylor School of Medicine said: "One man's waste is another man's treasure."-------------------------------Dr. Mohler has practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for 38 years. He has a particular interest in pharmaceutical education. Phil works part-time for both Primary Care Partners and Rocky Mountain Health Plans.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 23, 2013 09:39PM Published Jan 23, 2013 09:38PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.